17 weeks/4 months pregnant

I am now 17 weeks pregnant!

Baby is as big as a large onion and is around 5″ long. His/her heartbeat is around twice as fast as mine, and fingertips will be formed within the next week or so.

My energy is coming back though it hasn’t returned quite all of the way. I am still throwing up but it isn’t as often. I don’t remember being sick for so long with any of my pregnancies before this- so I’m hoping that it’s just a really, really strong and healthy baby.

I’m still so blessed to be carrying him/her for this long. In two weeks, we will find out the gender for the first time ever! We are very excited.

Emory

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recipe: homemade potato chips

These potato chips are so easy to make and taste ah-mazing. I will say that they are a bit time-consuming (as you can only cook a few chips at a time), but do require so little ingredients and steps. Their smell will bring up happy memories of fair food. Pair with the homemade hot dogs buns and you’ve got yourself a winning dish!

Homemade Potato Chips

Ingredients:

5 large potatoes
2 litres ice water
5 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
3 cups oil, any kind

Steps:

1. Using a slicer or a very sharp knife, slice the potatoes into the smallest pieces possible. Put into a large bowl, adding the ice water and 3 tsp of salt. Let soak for 30 minutes-1 hour.

2. Heat a large skillet with oil over medium heat. After soaking the potatoes, pat dry. Very carefully drop the slices into the oil and cover with a lid so as not to burn yourself. They should begin to deep fry. Continue to move them around with a large spoon or spatula. Cook for approximately 3-5 minutes on each side or until they are browned. Remove them from the oil, pat them dry, and top with salt and pepper. Serve once they have cooled!

Emory

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4 ways to upgrade your outside space

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Is your backyard ready for outdoor parties, barbeques, lawn games, and family dinners?

Your outside space is an extension of your indoor living space and a wonderful place to spend time in the Summer. Keeping on top of your backyard duties in the Winter is not always very appealing, so it may need a little sprucing up! 

Your backyard should be a welcoming space to spend time with the family or entertain guests in the sunnier months. It can get expensive to renovate your backyard, but there are many cost-effective ways to upgrade your backyard, regardless of the size, without breaking the bank. 

#1 DIY canopy 

Why not indulge in some alfresco dining this Summer? Building your DIY canopy does not cost a lot of money and can add a stylish eccentric vibe to your outdoor space while protecting you from harsh sunlight and even rain! Add some curtains for extra shade and even add some fairy lights to brighten it up at night. 

#2 Sort or replace your grass 

The grass can make or break any theme you are trying to create with your backyard, regardless of how expensive your decking is! If the grass is not in good shape, it will ruin the vibe.

Consider spending some time nurturing your garden by removing any weeds, watering during dry spouts, and even adding a small stoned path to protect the grass. Another inexpensive option could be to completely replace the grass if it is too far gone, or if you don’t have any already. Surprisingly, there are different types of grass that you can choose for your garden, but it is best to do your research first, so you can decide which is best. The most common debate for best lawns is bermudagrass vs tall fescue

#3 Build a seating area 

The best (and cheapest) seating areas are the ones you build yourself. All it takes is some old wood, food palettes, or even old bricks and concrete slabs and you can build a customised seating area. When you build it yourself, you can make it as big or small as you want, as well as decorate it in your unique style. Building your own creates that trendy rustic look. 

#4 Outdoor cinema

Once you have your DIY canopy and seating area set up, a fun addition to your backyard is an outdoor cinema. This can easily be achieved on a budget, with the only investment being a small projector to hook up to your laptop where you can log in to your favorite streaming service or watch old-time DVDs. Bring things you already have in the house, like a bedsheet for the screen and cushions and blankets to cozy up with, get some popcorn and enjoy a warm summer’s evening with your cinema! 

There are so many ways you can upgrade your backyard in preparation for summer fun, without breaking the bank. It just requires you to think outside the box and get your hands dirty. If there is anything this past year has taught us, it is that we need to spend more time with friends and family, and in nature! So make sure your backyard is up to scratch!

** This was a contributed post.

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6 tips for planning a summer home renovation

A summer renovation is just the thing that a home needs after a long winter. People can fix things outside and inside their home as people enjoy the fresh, clean, summer air. If you are planning a renovation, they are probably looking for some tips on the best way to get things done. 

Here are 5 best tips for planning your summer home renovation. 

Start in the Early summer 

Upgrades and renovations that take place outside are ideal for summer renovations. People can soak in the sun and fresh air while crossing some things off of their to-do list. The earlier in the summer people start, the more motivated people will be to complete their list. 

It is also important to have a comprehensive list of things to do. The best thing to do is to check your home thoroughly to spot any unsatisfactory parts. Before making any additions or improvements, you can even fix the lasting problems you have been procrastinating on. For example, the leaking faucet, noisy fridge or shaking dryer. Simply give a local appliance repair company a call to fix any issue right away.  

Consider the Style 

Making changes to your home is exciting, but you also need to make sure that any new changes are consistent with your current style. Or if you want to completely change your home style, you need to make sure that everything matches it. For example, the color is the one of the most obvious factors you can think of. If you plan to get a custom drape for your living room, you want to make sure it matches your new flooring or ceiling tiles. So does other furniture in your living room.  

Order Materials and Labor in Advance 

Renovations take place across multiple stages and the earlier people start planning, the more prepared they will be. It takes time to pick out a contractor and get materials delivered. To make sure people have everything set up and ready to go by the time they want to start their project, people will want to book these things months in advance. The good part is that there are promotions or deals from all kinds of stores like flooring stores or window companies. You can take advantage of them before they go away.  

This is also important when it comes to permits. For example, if people want to build a fence, they might need a permit from the city. These take time to get approved, so file in advance. 

Research Contractors 

We’ve all heard stories of people hiring contractors that take their money and do an awful job, or completely flake. To avoid this, homeowners will want to spend plenty of time researching the person people are going to hire. Read reviews of other people who have hired them to get a feel of how they work.  

Consider Return on Investment 

When people are thinking about any kind of renovation, it is important to consider the return on investment. Even if selling their home is not on their list at the moment, people should consider how the renovation will increase the value of their home. 

Consider Budget 

Budget is extremely important to consider before people start their renovation. people will need to think about every task that will be completed so people can create an accurate budget for the project. Keep in mind that people might want to paint, replace doorknobs, or resurfacing their cabinets.  

Another point that people may ignore is that the budgeting is only related to the projects itself, and it is more related to the overall expenses of the family. You need to take into account any possible big expenses like family vacations or clear teeth aligners for kids, etc.  

Taking on projects by themselves will save people money, leaving people more room in their budget for the actual renovations. 

** This was a contributed post.

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eleventh anniversary

Yesterday we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary.

As we are preparing to add another new life into our family, I can’t help but reflect on the early days of our relationship. Little did we know when we first started dating where our lives would lead us. In fact, we were planning on living very different lives. I was headed to Edinburgh, Scotland to undertake my Masters degree in Art History, and Geoffrey was finishing his last year of his BA at university.

We had planned on having a very new and very long distance relationship for the first year. However, I ended up not going, and that’s when we really began our lives together. We were quick to become engaged, buy our first place together (with the help of our parents), and then get married. Over the next 5 years, we travelled, worked hard, moved a few times, adopted a few animals, really got to know one another, and truly enjoyed just having one another.

These last 6 years have been all about our family. They’ve obviously been very different, but just as loving and enjoyable.

One never really knows how their life will turn out when they get married, and to me, that is just so fascinating. Hopefully it is for the better, and much comes from your marriage! But whether or not you choose to is completely up to you. I’m just thankful that I did, and we did together.

Happy anniversary, Geo. Pictures were taken by Oarsman Photography.

<3<3

Em

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